In 1882, union leaders proposed setting aside a day in which to honor the American worker, bringing into being what we know of today as Labor Day.  Even in today’s economic climate many will enjoy the day off, celebrating rather, the end of summer and the beginning of the scholastic year.  Our nation has a history rich in economic, industrial and technological success that is attributable to a strong work ethic.  The same attribute can be valuable to those placing their faith in God; in fact I believe it to be a necessity as a Christian.  Here is where many will jump in the conversation to remind us that we “saved by grace…not by works”.  While this is true, we must also remember the words of James when he tells us “faith without works is dead” (2:17) and the message of Paul to the Philippians was to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” (2:12)

If work is fundamental to being a Christian, we would do well to discover what that work is to be.  Of all the things we can find to do, none can more noble than what Jesus calls us to in Matthew 6:33, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” or that “gem of truth” in Hebrews that tells us that faith is necessary because an individual must “believe that He is and that He rewards those that diligently seek Him” (11:6).  The greatest reward of God that any can receive is eternal life and this seems to be the primary goal of man.  This life can only be received through persistent and hard-working effort in seeking God, His kingdom, and His righteousness.  Does that describe you, or are you more like the Laodicean church members who Jesus calls ‘lukewarm’?  These are neither hot nor cold and are spewed out as undesirable to the One should be their Lord.  (Rev 3:14ff)

Let’s examine Jesus’ mandate on seeking His kingdom and His righteousness.  What is He saying?  According to Jesus the kingdom was at hand, in fact would come with power before some of His followers’ death (Mark 9:1).  The church is the kingdom that came with power on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1ff).  His righteousness can only be found in Jesus, the one Who became sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).  Jesus tells us we can come to Him for rest (Matthew 11:28).  Ironically, this only comes through diligence or working to seek Him.  Let us not fail in the due diligence of seeking God on His terms…

Copyright © 2010, Nolan P. Rutter

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